Using Computer Software to identify Ore and Waste in Alberta Oil Sands Deposits

Mining Rocks! CIM Toronto 2005
William A. Wilkinson, Hans Heltke,
Abstract Suncor Energy currently mines approximately one million tonnes of ore and waste per day at its open pit operations in the Athabasca oilsands near Fort McMurray, Alberta. Modeling these deposits for planning purposes is particularly challenging given the characteristics associated with the deposit - stratigraphic depositional controls and gradational grade distributions. The identification of ore and waste is a combination of bitumen cutoff grade, minimum mining thickness and separable waste thickness that is closely monitored by the provincial regulatory agencies. Suncor along with Mincom Inc. and Marston have collaborated on this project to derive a methodology automated by computer software to streamline the ore and waste identification process. This paper explains the methodology and programs created to identify ore and waste in use at Suncor Energy and how this identification is used to categorize reserves and to generate mine design surfaces.
Keywords: Oil sands, Geology, Suncor Energy, Oilsands, Geologic modeling, Ore, software, marston, Mincom, Waste
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